If you have a gas fireplace, then there are a few things that you should know about it. Knowing the basics of your fireplace will help keep it from malfunctioning and save money on fuel costs. In this article we’ll cover how to identify if your gas logs are operating correctly as well as some safety precautions for them.
Do you have a fireplace in your house but are not sure what fuel it uses? It is time to find out. This article will help you identify if you have a gas-burning fireplace by answering the following questions:
- Is there an open flame when I turn on my fireplace?
- Do I smell gas in the room when I use my fireplace?
- Does my home show any signs of leakage near where the boiler or furnace is located?
- Do I hear hissing sounds coming from under the floorboards near where the boiler or furnace is located after turning on my fire place for 10 minutes?
What is a Gas Fireplace?
A Gas Fireplace is a fireplace that uses natural gas, propane or mixtures of both as the fuel to create flames. It’s very easy to tell if you have one installed in your home because they are typically located on exterior walls and feature glass doors which allow homeowners to admire their beautiful flame patterns while closed up inside the home.
Gas Fireplaces are also very easy to light because they come with their own ignition system that allows you to effortlessly turn it on and off, even while not in the home!
How do I know if I have A Gas Fireplace?
This is a question that we hear all the time and it’s understandable. Gas fireplaces are not as common as wood-burning or pellet stoves, so people may think they have something different than what they actually do. The best way to find out if you have a gas fireplace is by looking at the venting on the exterior of your home or by looking at any literature that came with the fireplace itself. If you have a direct vent gas firebox, it will require either natural gas or propane to function.
This means there is no flue and instead, has one single pipe attached to the side of the unit which vents out through an external wall. The other type of gas fireplace is a room-vented model, which will have two pipes on the side of it. The first pipe vents exhaust gasses outside while another one allows you to attach your flue for natural or propane gas.
Now that you know if your fireplace is gas, it’s time to look at the maintenance of these units. Gas fireplaces are very simple when it comes to routine care and there isn’t much in terms of regular upkeep needed. You don’t have to clean out ashes or feed logs like wood-burning stoves, but you do need to be aware of the following.
Fireplace Gas Controls
A gas fireplace fire control has three basic parts: the knob on the front of your fireplace, a manual valve located inside your fireplace’s cabinet and an electronic board located in your chimney.
- A gas fireplace uses electricity to run its fan blower system.
- Electric is not supplied by natural gasses or propane but rather it draws its fuel source from your home’s main electrical system.
- This makes it important to keep the fan blower turned on at all times even when you are not using the fire place for heat, however some models require that you turn off each of these elements before lighting or extinguishing a flame.
- In the case of a fan blower system failure, you should contact your fireplace’s manufacturer or local gas supplier.
- Your stove’s electronic board is responsible for igniting and extinguishing the flame as well as regulating its intensity to keep it burning at optimal levels.
Fireplace Ignition System
The ignition system is a small electrical box which attaches to the firebox. It allows you to turn on and off the fireplace from a switch in your home.
- To determine if you have an electronic or manual ignition, look for a metal plate attached near either end of your gas burner tube with “PILOT” written on it.
- If there is a metal plate with “PILOT” written on the burner tube, you have a manual ignition system and will need to learn how to light your fireplace pilot.
- If there is no metal plate with “PILOT” written on the burner tube, you have an electronic ignition system.
Gas Line Installation
If you choose to install a gas line, it’s best to hire an experienced plumber. The process is simple overall but if not done properly can result in leaks or injury.
The gas line is connected to the exterior of your home. The pipe must be secured securely so it doesn’t move, twist or kink while in use.
Use a wrench to tighten all connections until they are snug and don’t over-tighten them as this can cause leaks too. Make sure you have an air gap installed between the exterior of your home and the gas line too.
When turning on a gas fireplace for the first time, you’ll need to ensure that everything is working properly before use. This means checking all vents are open, there are no leaks coming from any connections or seals, and it lights right away with ease. You can check the pilot light after your first time using it to ensure it is staying lit and heating up the flame bed. You should never leave a gas fireplace unattended when in use, so make sure you stay nearby for safety reasons.
Open Or Glass Front
If you have an open or glass front, then most likely it is a gas fireplace. If the unit has no front at all and therefore looks like nothing more than a metal box hanging on your wall with some flames shooting out of the back top corner, chances are this is not what we’re looking for either (although there may be exceptions).
Rating plates are the small metal placards with numbers on your gas appliance. They indicate how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) or MBH (Million British Horsepower per hour) of heat they produce at maximum capacity. The higher the number, the more heat it produces and is known as “high efficiency” appliances.
Check The Manual
In the manual, there should be a section on how to use your fireplace. If you have a gas fire place it will probably say somewhere something like “for outdoor installation only” or similar. You can also check out some videos online if you’re not sure what type of fireplace yours is and want more specific help with figuring that out.
Benefits of having a Gas Fireplace
Efficiency: gas fireplaces are more efficient than wood burning fireplaces. They burn hotter, which means you can get your home toasty in no time at all! This also makes them considerably less expensive to run on a daily basis because they don’t have an open flame that requires constant refuelling and monitoring so it doesn’t go out.
Modern Look: gas fireplaces provide a sleek, modern look that is perfect for your home. They come in many shapes and sizes to fit any aesthetic you are trying to achieve from rustic charm with logs piled high or modern chic with glass doors allowing the flames to be seen glowing through them! The best part is that they are usually able to be converted into a wood burning fireplace when you want to change your look!
Customizable: gas fireplaces can come in many different styles and options, making it easy for almost any homeowner to find the right choice. You don’t have to settle on one type of fuel either since most models are able to burn both gas and wood. There are many different heating options that you can choose from as well, allowing you to control how hot or cold your home gets in the winter!
Environmentally Friendly: Wood fireplace inserts have changed a lot over the years to become much more environmentally friendly. New models come with features like catalytic converters that reduce the amount of harmful emissions they release. Many new wood burning fireplaces are also more energy efficient than older models, helping you to save money on your heating bills!
Disadvantages of having a Gas Fireplace
There are some disadvantages of having a gas fireplace. Here is the list:
- You cannot use a gas fireplace to cook.
- You can always light up your fire pit for cooking, but that is not the same as having a gas stove in your house or apartment.
- It requires installation and maintenance work from professionals who have experience with this type of appliance.
- The price might be more expensive than other options.
- Gas fireplaces are more expensive than wood, electric or pellet stoves.
- It requires either a gas line coming directly to the house or hooking it up to an outdoor tank.
- You cannot just plug in your fireplace and be ready to go like you would with other types of home heating appliances.
- The heat that it produces is not as strong or effective.
- The heat produced by gas fireplaces are considered to be less than the other types of stoves, but they might also depend on what size fireplace you have installed in your home!
- These were some disadvantages of having a gas fireplace. Now let’s look at the advantages.
Environmental Protection Agency Guidelines
EPA The Energy Star program works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help people save money and protect our climate through energy efficient products and practices. Dirty Air According to a study conducted by the American Lung Association, household air pollution from an incorrectly vented or poorly maintained fireplace can be up to 100 times worse than outdoor air pollution.
That’s why the first step should always be to make sure that your fireplace is properly installed.
- Keep the fireplace clear of any combustible materials such as paper, furniture, and curtains.
- Always have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
- Keep your fireplace clean to avoid any health hazards from dirty air vents.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once per year.
What is a decorative fireplace?
A decorative fireplace refers to the type of appliance it is. A gas fire place creates its flame through an electrically-powered heating element, also known as a burner or pilot light. This produces what you would expect from any modern hearth: flames and heat! Natural gas fireplaces are the most common type of gas fireplace.
What is a ventless fireplace?
A ventless or unvented fireplace refers to how its fuel source is burned in order to produce heat and flames for your space. This includes fireplaces that are powered by electricity, propane (LP), natural gas, bio ethanol, gel fuel, and wood. A ventless gas fireplace uses a direct vent or a power-vent to allow for combustion air flow in order to safely heat your home.
How do I know if my fireplace is vented?
If you have an insert model of fireplace then it will be vented as this is the only way to safely produce heat and flames. If your fireplace has a glass door, then it will be vented as you cannot have an open flame in front of a closed window or doorway. A ventless gas fireplace uses a direct-vent or power-vent that allows for combustion air flow so it can safely heat your home.
What is a direct-vent fireplace?
Direct vent fireplaces do not require any outside ventilation or chimney to operate. They are designed with their own built in combustion air flow so that your home can be safely heated without the need for additional ventilation. Direct vent gas fireplaces burn cleanly and efficiently, resulting in less mess and work.
What is a power-vent fireplace?
For homes without an existing vent or chimney, power vent fireplaces are the answer to your heating needs with no installation required outside of your home. This unique feature makes it easier than ever for you to enjoy gas heat where you want it, when you want it. Powered by electricity or natural gas (for models that are dual fuel), power vent fireplaces operate with the simple flip of a switch on your remote control. A single wall-mounted box replaces the need for an exterior chimney and connects directly to your home’s central heating system supplying heat where you need it most.
How do I know if my fireplace is ventless?
If your fireplace has a glass door, then it will be vented as you cannot have an open flame in front of a closed window or doorway. If your home does not currently have any ventilation setup for the space where your new gas insert would go, then you will most likely have a ventless gas fireplace.
How do I know if my fireplace is vented?
If you have an insert model of fireplace then it will be vented as this is the only way to safely produce heat and flames. If your fireplace has a glass door, then it will be vented as you cannot have an open flame in front of a closed window or doorway.
What is the difference between direct vent and power-vent fireplaces?
Direct vent fireplaces do not require any outside ventilation or chimney to operate. They are designed with their own built in combustion air flow so that your home can be safely heated without the need for additional ventilation. Powered by electricity or natural gas (for models that are dual fuel), power vent fireplaces operate with the simple flip of a switch on your remote control and utilize direct-vent technology to supply heat where you need it most.
What is an insert fireplace?
An insert refers to how the actual firebox is designed. Inserts are typically smaller than traditional fireplaces and use burning logs or gas flames to produce heat for your home instead of open flames, making them a safer bet when you have kids around.
How do I know if my fireplace is an insert?
If it has a glass door then it will be an insert as this is the only way to safely produce heat and flames.
In conclusion, gas fireplaces are a great alternative to their wood-burning counterparts. This user’s guide covers how they work and gives you some tips on installation and operation of your new fireplace insert! Now that you know the basics about gas fireplaces, it should be easy for you to purchase one from a retailer near you or online!